Speech team heads to competition

December 14, 2018


Sonia Yost

Sophomore, Alex Thaler, presents his speech to Mike Steininger, so he can get feedback on his presentation. Thaler chose the category of extemporaneous because he thinks quickly on his feet and can organize his thoughts quickly.

Some people are scared of spiders. Others are afraid of not being able to find their parents in the grocery store. For most people though, even the thought of public speaking can strike fear into the bravest of souls. However, the students on the school’s speech team ignore that fear and push on to deliver their speeches to strangers. The team, coached by Michael Steininger and Amanda Woodring, will be heading to their first competition on Friday, Dec. 14, at Bellwood-Antis High School.

The team is comprised of students from all grades. The coaches have students select which category they would like to compete in. The students can choose from categories including declamation, dramatic interpretation, duo interpretation, poetry, prose and many more.

“There’s something for everybody, so even if you think you’re too afraid to speak in front of a large group of people, it’s not that bad. There are long speeches, short speeches, speeches that you have to practice for months and ones that you don’t write until you are there,” Coach Woodring said.

Some students prefer to pick light-hearted and funny speeches, while others prefer to choose more serious topics. Some categories require students to have their speech completely memorized, and other categories have students hold a binder that contains their speech.

“I chose this because it allowed me to perform pieces that I wanted. I could become a character instead of having to write a formal speech where I wouldn’t have much movement or liberty,” junior Anthony Pater said.

The group tries to meet every Thursday in the library until 4 p.m. At the meetings, students will work with the coaches to get feedback on their presentations. However, when school is canceled, or if there is no school on Friday, practice is canceled.

“We haven’t had as much practice as I would have liked because of the delays and days off,” Coach Woodring said.

In the past, the team has done well. Each year they send around 10 or so students to states and around 6 or so to nationals. Before states or nationals, there are three preliminary meets. These meets almost act as practice meets because during these meets students are able to get feedback on their performance, but a students placement in the preliminary meets does not dictate if they will go to states or not. After the preliminary meets, comes the district meet which is the qualifying round to go to states. The district meet is larger than the preliminary meets because there are more schools.


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